Amara’s Canadian husband sponsored her to come to Canada eight years ago. Shortly after she arrived, she learned she was expecting a child. Not long after they got married, Amara’s husband started verbally abusing her. The abuse escalated and became physical after she found out about her pregnancy. Sadly, this is a common experience for women fleeing abuse. The research (J R Soc Med., 2008) suggests that pregnancy increases the risk of Intimate Partner Violence.
Unfortunately, things became increasingly unsafe for Amara after the birth of her daughter. Her husband regularly assaulted her and threatened to take her child away if she decided to leave him. One of the brighter days was when Amara befriended her neighbour. The two women would spend time together while Amara’s husband was at work. Amara’s new friend made all the difference, helping Amara connect with a counsellor who eventually helped her get away from her husband.
Three years ago, Amara and her daughter moved into The Cridge Supportive Transitional Housing. In the months after her arrival, Amara sought the support of the Dovetail team as she began a journey of healing. As time passed, she felt strong enough to participate in our group programs and especially enjoyed the Financial Literacy Group. Finally, with her daughter starting school, Amara could get a job. She worked hard and saved as much as she could. Eventually, Amara was able to buy a car. She started saving funds for her eventual move out of Cridge housing.
Amara recently told us that she had been accepted into Co-op housing and was planning to move out at the end of her three-year contract with us. On her last day, she came with gifts and thank you cards for all of the staff. She expressed how grateful she was for the transformation her life had made over the past three years. As we reflected later, we agreed that as much as we’d like to take credit for it, Amara’s strength, determination, and sacrifice had turned her life around. We are proud of Amara and so grateful that her life went from being a statistic to a story of hope!
Candace Stretch, Manager of The Cridge Supportive Housing & Family Services